Healthy Lifestyle

5 Ways to Avoid the Winter Workout Blahs

Published: Feb. 19, 2020

You set goals. You challenged yourself to start. And, most importantly, you pushed yourself to stay with a plan.

As the winter wears on, though, you may experience something else that tests your resolve. I call it “Midwestern Winter I’ll-Do-It-Tomorrow Syndrome.”

These are the days when you can blame the weather for a lot of what you do or don’t do. It’s too cold. It’s too windy. It’s too (fill in the blank). You’re not alone. As a physical therapist, I’ve heard more reasons for not exercising than for doing so.


So What Can You Do?

Let’s face it: Most of us just aren’t wired to embrace the cold. And staying indoors all winter is boring. But that doesn’t mean your fitness program has to go off the rails. 

Here are five ways to stay motivated and active:

Find a partner. Maybe your workout buddy holds you accountable to show up or keep going. Maybe chatting with a friend or spouse helps you pass the time while exercising. Whatever the dynamic, you’re more likely to stick with an activity if you enjoy doing it with someone. 

Incorporate play into your routine. Racquetball or tennis are just a couple of alternatives you might find appealing. Try involving your kids in your activities. Many fitness centers have open gym time available, and they usually have different types of sports equipment available to use. Just ask someone at the front desk.

Enroll in a class. Before jumping in, ask the gym training staff if the class is at your current fitness level. You might also want to sit in to observe a class before committing. Most gyms offer a variety of classes that can provide you with weeks of new and engaging activity.

Purchase equipment for home. Winter workouts don’t have to be all about getting to a gym. Consider purchasing inexpensive options to kick-start or add flavor to home workouts. When my first son was born, I decided I wouldn’t spend hours at the gym at the expense of family time. I started acquiring equipment I knew I could use and challenge myself with. For example, you can use a small set of dumbbells or do body-weight exercises with the aid of mats, benches and pull-up bars. Stability balls are versatile and add core stabilization to many exercises. 

Don’t set your workout time in stone. “Oops, I overslept. There’s no time to work out today.” Sound familiar? I have seven kids, so if I don’t have my workout done before I get off work, there’s no turning back the clock. I recommend planning ahead to give yourself every chance to work out. Pack your gym bag the night before. Keep it in your car. Sleep in your workout gear. Even alternatives like walking over your lunch hour or climbing stairs for 20 minutes can make a difference.


Take the Next Step

Whether you need a spark to keep your workouts going or you’re just starting an exercise plan, don’t let winter weather get you down. Be sure to consult your primary care provider if you’re beginning a program. Then, whether you’re a newbie or a workout warrior, commit to taking steps to conquer the Midwestern winter workout blahs. 

More Resources

About the Author

Pat Wilson, PT, OCS, CSCS, manages the Methodist Physicians Clinic outpatient physical and occupational therapy clinic. He is committed to leading by example and providing caring, compassionate therapy.

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